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Surveys show social progress set back by pandemic as mental health and debt worries grow

Pandemic sets back many

The COVID-19 pandemic has set back British Columbians in a number of ways.

Two new surveys show the vast majority believe low-income earners, women, minorities and the disabled have lost the most ground, and also that mental health and financial worries have skyrocketed.

The COVID Recovery Survey by insolvency trustees Bromwich+Smith puts a lens on public perceptions of debt.

After decades of progress, the survey found 9-in-10 British Columbians feel the pandemic has set back socio-economic progress in general.

Respondents believe low-income earners have been hit hardest (74%), followed by those on social assistance (45%), seniors (45%), women (45%), the disabled (43%), and visible minorities (43%).

The survey also showed that stigma still remains around debt, with 49% saying those who don’t pay their debts are "irresponsible" – 24% called them "selfish," while 13% called them "lazy."

However, given the trials of the pandemic, 73% say they are less judgmental about those who struggle with money, debt or insolvency.

Ranking perceived stigma, mental illness/addiction (84%) and poverty (82%) topped the list, with debt mentioned by 71%, and unemployment by 76%.

Meanwhile, another survey by Credit Counselling Canada found 37% of B.C. residents say their mental health has worsened as a direct result of their financial situation.

  • 29% said their mental health has been negatively impacted by job insecurity
  • 23% said that their mental health has been negatively impacted by housing insecurity
  • 48% feel their mental health has been negatively impacted by household expenses
  • 31% indicated their mental health has been negatively impacted by consumer debt payments

Additionally, the study reveals that 41% of B.C. parents are concerned about the impact the family's financial situation has on their child’s mental health and 64 per cent of B.C. parents have been taking action to shield their children from any financial or mental stresses due to the pandemic.



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